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New Appropriations Process Makes Final Legislative Week Different


This is the last week of the 2016 legislative session. The final days look a little different this year, thanks to a new appropriations process.


Once the education bills are through the legislature, lawmakers say the last big focus is the general bill.

Senator Deb Peters co-chairs the Joint Appropriations Committee. She says the procedure is different this session. 
“We aren’t going to have a traditional amendment day the way everybody’s used to,” Peters says. “Where all of the Appropriations Committee goes up to 414 and you do the recess in, recess out, recess in, recess out, and you wait for all of the bills. We’ve been approving budgets as we go along.”
Peters says they’re doing budget units based on bills that have reached the Governor’s desk.
“And we pass or amend the budget unit based on the bill that it affects,” Peters says. “It’s working out really well. There’s not a lot of fanfare around the budget this year because it’s been incremental change and the budget units are being set where they’re being set when things are finalized within those agencies and decisions are made.”
Lawmakers hope the new process is more transparent. Senator Billie Sutton says it means legislators won’t have a horrible last day. He says he doesn’t know exactly what the final days of the session will look like.
“We’ll get everything done,” Sutton says. “There may be some late days. There may be a lot of negotiations going on. But we’ll get it all done. We always do. And we’ll get out of here in pretty good time I’m sure.”
Legislators meet through Friday this week to finish their business. After that, one day of the session remains: an opportunity to override vetoes later this month.